Dr. Ui Kyoung Kim


English, Korean
University of Pennsylvania
General Practice Residency
Harlem Hospital

Most people either loved going to the dentist as a kid—or absolutely hated it. Where did you fall? How come?

While I wouldn't say that I hated going to the dentist, I definitely didn't enjoy the experience. As a child, I remember feeling sensitivity throughout the procedure while getting some fillings done and wondering if it was normal to feel that way. However, I was too afraid to speak up, so I just bore the discomfort. The sound of the dental instruments and the sight of the tray also made me uneasy. As a dentist myself, I can relate to patients who say, "I do not like dentists, nothing personal." I understand their discomfort and take no offense!

What (or who) inspired you to get into dentistry? How so?

My best friend started dental school right after college, while I took a gap year to explore various career paths in the healthcare field. She has been a wonderful mentor and advisor throughout my own dental career.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

It's incredibly rewarding to see patients leaving my office with a renewed trust in dentists and dental care. As a dentist, I believe that a major part of my job is to educate patients on how to best care for their oral health. Unfortunately, I've noticed that many patients delay necessary treatments due to dental anxiety or a general mistrust of the industry. That's why it's so satisfying to hear patients say, "I trust you doc, you can do whatever you believe is best for me."

What famous person (alive or dead) is your dream dental patient? Why?

Sofia Vergara! Her smile is absolutely stunning, and her teeth are flawless. Interestingly, her first career choice was actually dentistry. I'm fascinated by her story and would love to learn more about her journey down that path.

What’s your dream toothpaste flavor?

Pineapple, mango, green apple

What’s something your patients might be surprised to learn about you?

That I am really into Formula 1

How do you recharge after a long week? What’s your go-to activity for hitting the restart button?

Binge-watching Netflix shows or indulging in a nice meal and wine.

What dental stereotype are you most passionate about changing?

That dentists are rough!

What is the absolute coolest thing about the human mouth?

It's fascinating how every aspect of your mouth – including your teeth, tongue, jaw, muscles and TMJ – is designed to work together in perfect harmony.

In another life, if you weren’t working in dentistry, what would you be doing?

Leather craft

When I’m in the patient chair, I’m probably grooving to {blank} in my headphones.

"I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross

What’s something that really, really, really makes you smile? Like, really?

Furry friends. They just make me go AWWW and melt my heart instantaneously!

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